Posted February 22, 2010, 11:26 pm.

Broken Helmet

On Sunday I was in a ‘cross race in Redding with the rest of the team. The first half of the course was on a BMX dirt track, full of sweet tabletops and banked turns. This was followed by three water crossings and the most mud I’ve seen so far. It only took one lap to get completely soaked through and stained.

Photo Link.

On my third lap I got a pretty fast start into the BMX course, but only made it over the first ramp before crashing into the ground. I remembered the rear of my bike lifting up behind me as I started the descend from the first riser, and then the ground came rushing up into my face.

I say I remembered because I do not anymore. I know I told the people around me about what happened, but right now my memory from the moment of impact to maybe 10-15 minutes after is kind of, well, absent. I’m pretty sure I didn’t black out at any point.

My helmet was pretty thoroughly smashed, and I’ve got some healthy road rash along my right flank. I’ve been told that after I dragged myself out from under my back and off the course I started saying “my head feels really loud”. My brain and my skull had a little fight.

When I got home a few hours later my head felt a lot better, but it still seemed as if my skull was one or two sizes too small. I took a shower to wash the dirt out of my cuts and scrapes, and found them to hurt something awful. I’ve never had to scrub out such a large abrasion before, and I hope I never have to again.

When she heard that I was experiencing memory loss Xue, being a neuroscientist who likes me, told me that I needed to go to the hospital. I checked myself in and within an hour or two I was being carted down to Radiology for a CT scan.


Now I just need to get myself a new helmet and for this damned road rash to heal up.

Photo Link.

Posted February 17, 2010, 11:13 pm.

Gonna Rant.

Lots of things happened today. Nothing too big, nothing really drastic, but just lot of little things that have left me feeling very content here at the end of the day.

This morning I scrambled three eggs with some cheese, made two pieces of toast, and sliced up a big orange. I bought five pounds of oranges at the market last Saturday and I don’t think it’ll last me through the week. I cut this morning’s fruit into sixths because I like the way you can pull back the corners of the wedge and the peel just falls off. Good eats.

In my Pre-Calculus class I found out I did a lot better on Monday’s surprise exam than I thought. Rather, everyone else did nearly as bad as I and the curve makes us all look smart. Either way, the B- made me feel better. After class I spent an hour or so in the library working on the homework. It was hard, but it made sense to me by the end. I think I might be finally wrapping my head around the idea of school-as-work-as-something-valuable. About time.

At noon I had an anthropology lecture. Normally this class is pretty dull but today it was engaging. We talked about Bergmann and Allen’s rules about the relationship of volume to surface area in body sizes and proportions.

When I got home I started looking at Google Apps. I think I’m going to pitch it as a better email solution for PAUL. I think it could make a lot of things easier, but there’s still a good amount of research to do.

My last class of the day was a double lab for Manufacturing Processes, from two until eight. We talked about the wide variety of abrasive techniques and tools, from saws to polishes, and were then given plenty of time to work on our assignments. Today I tackled the pin braze. The pin braze is a very simple assignment, the objective is to brass braze some 3/8” round stock steel to a plate with a nice fillet the whole way ‘round.

The way this class works is you get to practice as much as you want for each assignment, but when you think you’re ready to be graded your materials are stamped with your number and you have one shot to get it right. I did a half dozen test pieces before committing to be graded. It was really nice getting to try the same process repeatedly, tweaking one element at a time. Different gas flows on the torch, different size flames, different amount of heat applied to the materials, etc. I was definitely nervous when I did my final graded piece, but it came out really well. The professor said it was one of the best he’s seen and that made me really happy.

Pin Braze Exercise

The afternoon gave me faith that A) brazing is something I am not doomed to suck at, and B) I can get a lot of satisfaction out of a steady improvement of my technique. Last night Brad and I got together to design the bottom bracket and rear axle fixtures for our frame jig. Tomorrow after work I’m going to talk to Jim about the best way to machine those parts on the manual lathe and mill. It’s all coming together.

For dinner tonight I drank some root beer and some chai, and ate about a dozen cookies. Also, today’s song has been The List by Defiance, Ohio. As Xue said, this song is about everyone’s life, always.

Posted February 2, 2010, 8:02 am.

Rodeo 'Cross

This past Saturday I raced with (most of) the rest of Team PAUL at the Folsom Rodeo. The course was varied and exciting, the faster riders were very fast, the crowd was enthusiastic, and I got my first taste of actual mud.

Team PAUL did it again, another day of  fun in the mud.

I didn’t know much of the different species of mud before this race. Thankfully the course designers routed us through plenty of shit, and my internal wet-dirt-dictionary has expanded.

Right off the starting line the ground turned to Velcro. The floor of the rodeo was fine grained and rained upon just a few hours earlier, and though it packed down relatively well under a wheel it also tended to fly pretty well of the back of a knobby tire as it was ripped from the ground.

After about a hundred yards the course made a sharrrrp right turn around the end of a fence. Here the ground turned to chocolate pudding, and most riders put a foot down to make their way around, killing much of their speed. My teammate Scott said that on the last few lap he had been able to grab the post at the end of the fence and whip himself around it.

The course then wrapped its way through a series of paddocks behind the announcer’s stage. The ground there was very well fertalized, and I tried to keep my mouth shut.

After seven laps I finished in sixth place of the eight riders in the single speed category. I napped readily on the drive back to Chico, and ate greatly when we reconvened at the brewery.

There are five more races coming up in the next two months, and I am very excited about that.

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